Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Happenings: NHC 2010, CBS Board, Craft Beer Week

Howdy all, just a quick post on the latest happenings around here.

First off, we had a fantastic Craft Beer Week here in Chicago,  where we tasted lots of rare and interesting beers - including some cask ale from Stone, Double Daisy Cutter from Half Acre, hoppy lagers from local brew-god Pete Crowly. We also got to hang out with the likes of Randy Mosher, Ray Daniels, and Steve Hamburg, listen to them talk about beer and enjoy the beers they personally picked to be served at the Map Room that day. We had some great homebrew, food and laughs at the Beer Fly Alley Fight - where brewers, cooks, and artists unite and battle for awards and bragging rights.

We also found out that Meg and I were voted in as new board members for the Chicago Beer Society. Thanks to that, we were able to get into the final blowout party at Half Acre - which was quite the party! Many thanks to Jeff, Steve, and Gabriel for making that happen.

We also became official members of HOPS - Homebrewers Pride of the Southside. After attending one meeting, we knew we had to hang with these folks more.

And lastly, we ran in the 5K Fun Run at Half Acre on Sunday morning, and I didn't die! Here's a picture of me finishing the longest I've ever ran. It was a beautiful day and a great run, after which we got beer and a tour of the Half Acre brewery. Many thanks to Jonathon of the Beer Mapping Project for setting that up.

Brew-wise, we're just finishing fermenting a batch of Belgian Prankster, which will be served at this year at the National Homebrewers Conference. So if you're going to be attending, be sure to stop by the HOPS booth and say hello! 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

English sorta Pale Ale - Matt's First Recipe

I had some Marris Otter, a variety of crystal malts, a White Labs 002 English Ale yeast cake, and a bunch of Willamette hops. After reading the Pale Ale/IPA chapter in Designing Great Beers, I felt OK to try a recipe out. OH! And I also just got my Barley Crusher, and was anxious to just brew something.

Style-wise is wasn't any kind of English Bitter, not really enough to be an IPA of any kind. I just wanted a good session beer that featured Willamette hops, and thus Lammit Dammit was born. I think it's quite good, and will certainly brew this one again. Taste-wise you get some nutty/maltness balanced with a nice wash of grassy, earthy/spicy hops across the tongue. There's a bit of a lingering finish, especially for 4.2% beer.

If you live around Chicago and use Lake Michigan water, you might want to add the following salts to your mash water (around 3.5 gallons - you want a thick mash): 6g gypsum, 1g calcium choloride. This will help bring out the hops, and give the Chicago water some things it's lacking, like Calcium and Sulfate. It will also balance the PH for the recipe.

Ferment at 68F, ramping up to 71-72 towards the end to ensure a nice final gravity and help clean-up the diacetyl this yeast can produce, which I feel you don't need here. Cheers!

Recipe: Lammit Dammit

Wort Volume Before Boil: 7.5 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 6.50 US gals
Volume Transferred: 5.50 US gals
Water Added: 0.00 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 5.50 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.00 US gals
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.038 SG
OG: 1.045 SG
FG: 1.013 SG
ABV: 4.2 %
IBU (using Tinseth): 51.6
Color: 8.5 SRM
Mash Efficiency: 75.0 %
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins
Fermentation Temperature: 68 degF (ramp up towards end, if possible)

Maris Otter Pale Ale Malt - 9lb 0oz
Caramel 40L Malt - 10.00 oz
Victory Malt - 8.00 oz
Caramel 120L Malt - 2.00 oz

Hops (pellets)
Kent Goldings (5.5 % alpha) 1.50 oz All Of Boil
Kent Goldings (5.5 % alpha) 0.50 oz 30 Min From End
US Willamette (4.5 % alpha) 0.50 oz 20 Min From End
US Willamette (4.5 % alpha) 1.00 oz 10 Min From End
US Willamette (4.5 % alpha) 1.00 oz 5 Min From End
US Willamette (4.5 % alpha) 1.00 oz At turn off

Yeast: White Labs WLP002-English Ale (lots - I used at least a few cups of slurry from a just-finished batch of Mild)

Mash Type: Full Mash
Schedule Name: Single Step Infusion (65C/149F)
Step: Rest at 149 degF for 60 mins

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Randy Mosher's Basement

This year we had the pleasure of stopping by Randy Mosher's for Big Brew Day 2010. Even with a bit of rain, it was impossible to dampen the positive vibes. Many thanks to Randy and Nancy for opening their home up to old friends as well as people they've never met before (like us!).

Of course, everyone into brewing wants to see Randy's basement brew setup - so here it is, in all it's glory. There's a detailed diagram in his great book, Radical Brewing. Looks like he did a 15 gallon batch of wheat beer, this year's official Big Brew recipe - prost!